IELTS Writing Test

Whether you are preparing for your IELTS test, or want to know more about what’s in the Writing section of the exam, you can find everything you need to know here.

About the Writing section of the IELTS test

The IELTS writing test, an integral part of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), holds immense significance for individuals aspiring to study or work in an English-speaking environment. One compelling reason to take the IELTS writing test is that it serves as a pivotal assessment of a candidate’s proficiency in written English, a skill crucial for academic and professional success.

The British Council, among other institutions, provides valuable resources and guidance to help candidates prepare for the IELTS writing test effectively. Scoring well in this section of the IELTS writing test is not only an essential step towards academic and professional aspirations but also a testament to one’s proficiency in the English language.

Academic institutions and employers worldwide recognize the IELTS writing section as a reliable measure of a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively, analyse data, and construct well-organized written responses. It is especially vital for those seeking admission to universities, colleges, or vocational schools abroad, where academic success hinges on the capacity to articulate ideas coherently in essays, reports, and research papers. Likewise, for professionals in fields like medicine, engineering, and business, where clear and concise written communication is paramount, excelling in the IELTS writing test can open doors to opportunities for career advancement and international recognition.

In conclusion, success in the IELTS Academic Writing test requires not only language proficiency, but also the ability to convey information effectively and persuasively. It is a crucial assessment for anyone looking to demonstrate their English writing skills in an academic or professional setting.

The IELTS Writing test format

Writing Task 1 is slightly different depending on whether you are taking the IELTS Academic or General Training test, but Writing Task 2 is the same format for both tests.

Writing Task 1: IELTS Academic

For task 1 of the IELTS Academic Writing test, you will be shown an image such as a chart, graph or map. You will then be asked a question relating to the image and expected to write around 150 words summarising what you see.

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Writing Task 1: IELTS General Training

If you are taking the IELTS General Training test, Task 1 in the Writing section asks you to write a letter in response to a situation presented to you in your exam paper. These situations could be formal, semi-formal or informal and include things such as a letter to your manager or to a friend or family member. You should aim to write around 150 words.

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Writing Task 2: IELTS Academic & General Training

Whether you are taking the IELTS Academic or General Training test, the second part of the exam, “Writing task 2” is the same format. During this part of the test, you will be asked to write an informal essay of at least 250 words on a topic provided in your exam paper.

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IELTS Writing preparation materials

Free practice tests

You can find free IELTS Writing practice tests here to help you prepare for the types of questions you might be asked in your exam.

Free practice tests

IELTS webinars

We have webinars which are led by language experts and are specific to the Writing part of the exam. They can cover everything from how to tackle specific tasks to how to increase your band score.

Upcoming webinars

Test taker support

See our full range of preparation support for test takers here. From full courses to study packs and online coaches, we have plenty of free resources to help you do well in your IELTS test.

Prepare for IELTS

How much preparation should I do?

The more time you give yourself to prepare, and the more you take advantage of our free materials, the better you are likely to score in your IELTS test.

Familiarising yourself with the Writing section of the exam means no time wasted on the day, giving you more time to focus on your questions. You’ll also have a better understanding of what the examiners are looking for in order to get the best mark possible.

IELTS Writing test advice

In the Writing test, you can use a pen or pencil. You can choose to write in capitals or lower case.

You can make notes on the question paper, but anything on the question paper will not be marked. Make sure all your answers are on the answer paper.

Discover the step-by-step guide to take the IELTS writing test

  • Make notes if you need to and think carefully about each task of the IELTS writing section.
  • Underline key words to help understand what you need to do.
  • Plan your answers thoroughly before you write them.
  • Structure your response by separating each idea into its own paragraph.
  • Avoid repeating the same sentence using different words in the writing test.
  • You will not get any marks for copying whole sentences from the question.
  • Make sure your answer closely follows the question topic.
  • Manage your time carefully and remember that Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1. As a guide you should spend around 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2.
  • You may not have time to count your words so you should practice by learning roughly how long 150 and 250 words looks in your own handwriting.
  • Write your answers in full sentences. You will lose marks for bullet points or short notes.
  • Use formal language where possible in the IELTS writing test.
  • Allow time to read back through your answers and make changes where needed.

Book your IELTS test

With over 80 test centres located across Canada, simply use our online tool to find one near you and book online today.

Find your nearest test centre here by following the link and selecting the province you live in.

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Need more information on the other parts of your test?

Test & practice tips for IELTS Reading

Learn more

Test & practice tips for IELTS Listening

Learn more

Test & practice tips for IELTS Speaking

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my IELTS writing?

How do I do IELTS Writing task 2?

How do I write the opinion essay in IELTS / How do I write the agree/disagree essay?

How do I prepare for IELTS writing?

What happens if you write less than 250 words in the IELTS writing task?